Explore a career in care with ellenor

Ieva Balciunaite is 18 years old and a pupil at Gravesend Grammar School. Over the past six months, she has been a student on the ‘Explore A Career in Care’ course at ellenor hospice in Gravesend. It gives 17 – 19 year olds the opportunity to gain an authentic hospice experience, enabling them to explore a career in the care profession and see first hand how rewarding a career it can be.

Ieva is an artist from Lithuania.  She has always loved drawing and painting and uses art to look at things from a different perspective. Two months ago she gifted a beautiful piece of her art to ellenor that portrayed her experience and feelings for what she believes the hospice and its community stands for.

Q: This is a beautiful piece of art and will touch people on so many levels. What is your inspiration behind this painting and what does it represent for you?  

A: I’ve designed the painting in a way which I believe will allow each individual to interpret it differently as a result of their own unique experience. I wanted the professionals who work at ellenor, patients, families and supporters to be able to relate to it in some way. To me it represents a multitude of things.

Firstly, the painting is an expression of the turmoil of feelings I was faced with when working at the hospice. I was touched by the passion and commitment expressed by the staff and the quality of care displayed not only for the patients but for their friends and family as well. I believe this holistic approach to the patient – encompassing them as a whole by considering both their physical and mental needs, and the empathy and understanding expressed when doing so – should form the foundations of the morals all healthcare professionals should possess. I felt the patients were surrounded by people they could trust, and I wanted to convey that in my artwork. It was a way to give back to those who worked alongside me, teaching and training me, and for providing me with a rewarding experience that has helped me to understand what I want to achieve in the future.

Q: What does the orange cloak mean?

A: To me, it is a representation of the community that forms ellenor.  It is everyone who works there, supports the organisation or a similar cause, working united to help those in need.

Q: Why did you enrol in the ‘Explore a Career’ course?

A: I wanted exposure to the healthcare community.  I thought it was an excellent chance for me to explore career pathways and gain invaluable experience. I wanted to see directly what caring for the patient really meant.

Q: What skills have you learnt and what were the challenges?

A: I’ve learnt a variety of practical skills including moving and handling, nutrition and mouthcare alongside other necessary skills to care for the patients. However, for me, the most educational aspect of the course proved to be the way in which one should think about the patient in order to do what is right in the situation to achieve the best possible outcome.  It was learning to show compassion through the use of the simplest of gestures, to make the patient more comfortable and happier.

Q: What are the next steps for you in your career development plan?

A: I have applied to study paramedic science at university, and I hope to care for and help as many people as I can.

Ieva’s painting is on display at ellenor Gravesend – it is the last thing people see as they walk past the communal area and leave the hospice.

If you’re interested in exploring a career in care with ellenor, please contact or call us on 01474 320007– thank you.


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